Experiencing Brussels Together
The New Ground Elders & Wives met in Brussels for 24-hours in January. Claire Musters tells us all about it.
An early morning wake up, breakfast at St Pancras then all aboard the Eurostar…
It was Friday 20 January and approximately 150 leaders were heading to Brussels for the New Ground Elders and Wives annual 24-hour conference.
We were gathering in Brussels for fellowship, teaching, and worship – but also to experience the city for ourselves, as it is one of the latest earmarked for a New Ground church plant. It was incredible to hear how we have gone from having 6 church plants in 2015 to 26 this year!
Church planting across Europe is definitely at the heart of what New Ground do, and it was great to hear from those planning plants in the near future, not just in Brussels but also Berlin, Delft and Maastricht. Such inspiring men and women with a heart to reach the people of each city with the gospel…
We enjoyed a wonderful evening on the Friday, eating local food (and sampling the Belgian beer!) together in a restaurant boasting a spectacular view of the architecturally impressive, cobble-stoned, UNESCO-listed main square – the Grand Place.
Jonathan le Tocq had given a small group of us a short tour of some of the sightseeing highlights on our way to the restaurant. These included the 17th-century Manneken Pis – the urinating cherub boy. Yes, that really is one of the city’s icons. Thanks for passing on your knowledge Jonathan!
Catching up with other leaders from across New Ground and spending time worshipping together was so encouraging. The teaching within the four sessions was fantastic too: challenging, honest and inspiring.
John Lanferman from the USA shared both days and really got to the heart of what success in ministry is. It is NOT the numbers we gather on a Sunday, or the amount of venues we have planted – it IS, simply… faithfulness.
We were reminded that our identity, and our success, is not based in how others view us but purely in Jesus. Is He enough for you?
Dave Holden spoke in the last session, having been hugely encouraged at how God had already brought the essence of his message to us during the worship time in the form of a tongue and interpretation.
Dave spoke about God’s promise to carry us, and how and when we can experience that most deeply. He also reminded us that God carries our churches too, which was great for those of us who had opted to stay on in Brussels for the Sunday to hear!
During that extra 24 hours we were able to walk around much more of the city, sample the incredible chocolate as well as the waffles and beer. It is a fascinating city, full of opulent, stylish architecture, European Parliament buildings, expensive chocolate shops and… many homeless on street corners.
We had mainly concentrated on the tourist areas, but were told that there is a big rich and poor divide, and great division still between Flemish and French-speaking areas. Brussels needs God!
Our experience in Brussels moved us, refreshed us spiritually and helped us to be envisioned about New Ground’s plans to plant in this strategic European city. Thank you to all who worked hard behind the scenes to make it happen.
Have a listen to the three main Elders & Wives talks.